We’ve embraced the Danish principle of Hygge and the Norwegian concept of Skogluft, but now there’s a new wellbeing trend on everyone’s radar: Shinrin-yoku, the Japanese activity of ‘forest bathing’.
Forest bathing is the simple pastime of just being in the forest. Unlike hiking through woodland, it’s about feeling present – immersing yourself in nature and allowing its calming scents and sights to wash over you.
The Duchess Of Cambridge’s newly unveiled Chelsea garden is reportedly inspired by the concept.
Landscape architect Andrée Davies, who worked closely with Kate on the project, told The Telegraph she brought the concept to meetings, noting how office workers escape to the trees in Japan for lunchtime respite.
British practitioner Faith Douglas offers forest bathing as a therapeutic activity for military veterans, via the Help For Heroes charity.
“Forest bathing gives you an overall feeling of calm,” she previously told HuffPost UK. “You are more relaxed and clear-headed but also energised and connected, not just to the natural space but to the people around you, as well.”
On Twitter, people are already sharing their positive experiences of forest bathing since embracing the concept.
At age 15, Maddie practices shinrin-yoku (forest-bathing) as often as possible. In fact, last year she gave up regular baths altogether. Wants you to know it's never too late to say "h*ck that noise" and go collect pine needles in your leg hair. #seniorpupsaturday pic.twitter.com/l9FVhb2IVK— DP (@psaltonburn) May 11, 2019
Forest bathing has a number of health benefits, according to Chris Naylor, author of Go Wild: Find Freedom and Adventure in the Great Outdoors.
“It can boost your immune system, reduce blood pressure, increase your energy levels, improve your mood, your sleep and your ability to focus; and even accelerate your body’s ability to heal,” he says in his book.
“Studies have also shown that when measured, rates of hostility and aggression diminish among those who have been in a forest environment. Being at one with nature, surrounded by a naturally beautiful ambience, promotes positivity and happiness.”
With our miles upon miles of woodland, the UK is the perfect place to try forest bathing – and it’s free! So what are you waiting for?
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.